February 9, 2012

Coker Softball Coach David Hanna Nears Milestone

David Hanna is about as quiet and humble as they come, off the field. He's not one to boast or take credit, and he certainly avoids the limelight at all costs. But, his work as a coach, on the field, speaks volumes.

Hanna, Coker College's head softball coach, enters his 21st season at the helm. He sits on 699 career wins – all at Coker. The team lost a 2-1 decision to Pfeiffer in the Conference Carolinas tournament to end the season on April 16, 2011. His record heading into Friday's season-opening doubleheader with Mars Hill College is 699-241-1.

Despite having to wait 10 months to reach the milestone, Hanna says this offseason has been no different than the others.

"I never think about it until someone says something about it," he said. "I'll just be glad to get it over with."

In Hanna's 20 years at Coker, the team has reached the postseason 19 times, including appearances in the NCAA Division II National Finals (1998) and the NAIA National Tournament (1995). He has been named the Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year six times and was the NAIA District 26 Coach of the Year in 1993 and 1994.

Getting to the brink of such a major milestone at Coker never crossed Hanna's mind. He admits he figured to be at the college for a few years to build up the program, but his success and the kids made it tough for him to walk away.

"I never thought this would be possible, not even close," he said. "I didn't think I'd be here that long. I thought it would be a couple of years, but the longer I stayed the harder it got to leave."

Like many great coaches, Hanna has seen some elite talent come through Coker. He's brought in waves of talent throughout his tenure, including several players that spurned Division I offers to play for him. Liz Clack, Missy Paterson, Angela Williams and Kelly Norris are just a few of the big names Hanna has had come through the system.

"We've had some outstanding kids over the years," said Hanna. "I couldn't have been here without them. There are just so many that have made it easy and worthwhile for us."

He's apparently made the time in Hartsville worthwhile for the students, too. Lots of players stay in touch with the coach through phone and email, and nearly 50 former players recently came out for an alumni game.

It doesn't appear that 700 wins is going to slow down the veteran coach either. Hanna says he plans to coach until he loses his passion for the game, and that doesn't appear to be anytime soon.

"I still like being out with the kids," Hanna said. "I like watching them grow and mature. It's fun to watch from freshman to senior year. More often than not it's a completely different kind of person."

Although Hanna will be adding another major milestone to his resume, he says it will be business as usual.

"Every win, every game means something, but it's not going to change me either way."

For more information, contact Chris Dougherty - 843.383.8018